New research by the Good Food Institute found that sustainable protein companies across Europe raised €579m last year, a 24% increase from 2021, with the plant-based sector supported by a 15% increase in venture capital deals to €284m.
Investments in the UK’s cultivated meat industry increased almost fourfold, with companies raising €68m in 2022. Europe’s cultivated meat companies saw investment jump 30% to €120m, more than half of the total raised by European cultivated meat companies between 2016 and 2021.
Global investment declined
Despite success in Europe, global investment in sustainable proteins decelerated last year, from a ‘record-breaking’ €4.7bn in 2021 to €2.7bn in 2022. This mirrored a marked decline in wider venture capital investment.
Carlotte Lucas, senior corporate engagement manager at the Good Food Institute Europe, said: “It’s great to see such strong figures across Europe’s sustainable protein sectors. But we need to see this against a backdrop of global deceleration, demonstrating clearly that we can’t rely on private investment alone to build a more sustainable food system, and governments need to step up.
Willing to pay a premium
“Right now, sustainable proteins are where solar panels were in the 1990s. They exist, and they’re available for eco-conscious consumers who are willing to pay a premium – but they need investment to improve quality and bring down prices.
“With the EU preparing to invest heavily in cleantech and biomanufacturing, now is the perfect opportunity to fund the research needed to keep Europe competitive and create future-proof jobs.”
Meanwhile, UK cultured meat projects took home the fifth highest share of global investment, but Europe is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to lab grown meat, according to a new report by R&D tax relief specialist GovGrant.